The last few days have been interesting to watch the fallout of the recent announcement that Microsoft will be acquiring Github. It was like the news came out of nowhere. So instantaneous, it seemed like within 48hrs of murmurs of Microsoft being interested in the acquisition, the deal was as good as done. And with that thousands of developers of the Github community began to flee to new homes.
Github alternative, Gitlab, found out about the news, not by traditional means. Within hours of the headlines breaking over 250,000 projects were migrated into GitLab, causing a serious uptick on their server load.
But why is this the reaction of some many developers across the world? Possibly it’s because Microsoft has a history of acquiring products and turning them into shiny pieces of crap (think the Skype acquisition of 2011). Maybe it’s because Microsoft hasn’t been long in the world of open-source and everyone is scared of what they will do - somehow changing the terms and conditions of Github and managing to gain some ownership of the code developers host their.
Microsoft has been trying to change their image over the past few years and embrace the open-source world. Over the years, I’ve come to know past and present employees of the tech giant. Many whom I respect and admire. Recently, I met Sarah Drasner (Senior Developer Advocate at Microsoft), at the Vue.js Conference in New Orleans. One of the things she said, that really stood out to me is “Microsoft is looking to meet developers where they are.”
Visual Studio Code is a perfect example of that. Visual Studio Code is a source code editor developed by Microsoft for Windows, Linux and macOS. It includes support for debugging, embedded Git control, syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, and code refactoring. It is also customizable, so users can change the editor’s theme, keyboard shortcuts, and preferences. It is free and open-source, although the official download is under a proprietary license.
It wasn’t like that years ago. Doing something like programming in .Net, you had to work on a Windows machine, and it could only be deployed to a server running IIS. You basically had to be all-in or nothing.
I’d like to be optimistic and think that nothing but great things will come out of this. Only time will tell. As Chris Wanstrath stating in his post on the GitHub blog, the deal will take a few months to finalize. In the meantime, I’m going to hedge my bets and push copies of all my repositories to GitLab. You never know when you’ll need that bug out bag.